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User-Centered Design Intern - Center for Conservation Innovation

User-centered Design Intern – Spring 2021

Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities, seeks a User-centered Design Intern to work in its Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI). Launched in 2017, CCI works at the intersection of science, technology, and policy to develop creative, practical solutions to improve wildlife conservation.

The User-centered Design Internship is an opportunity for an advanced college, graduate, or post-graduate student to work with CCI and other Defenders staff to help improve the usability of CCI’s web applications for conservation. This may include working on, a suite of tools for conservation professionals (, the CCI’s main landing pages (, its data-driven web apps (e.g.,, or other forms of communications. Brainstorming, testing, sketching and wireframing, and feedback will all be part of the day-to-day work and learning in the position. There will likely be opportunities to work with Defenders’ Marketing team during the internship. This internship advances Goal 1, Strategy 4 of Defenders’ Strategic Plan, to “Mobilize science and technology to advance wildlife conservation,” and Goal 2, Strategy 2, to “Engage new audiences.”

This internship position is for the spring of 2021, from February 1 through May (end date flexible). Applications are due by Sunday, November 29 at 11:59 PM EST. We generally accept new applications for the User-centered Design Intern position for the fall (deadline in early July; start in early September), spring (deadline in early December; start in early February) and summer (deadline in early March; start in early June) terms, with each term lasting 3-4 months.
Assist CCI’s app development team in creating and refining web content to impact conservation policy and practice by:
·        Helping improve the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of existing CCI apps;
·        Shaping UI/UX of new projects;
·        Maximizing consistency with design from; and
·        Testing designs with a variety of audiences, including technical specialists, policymakers, and the public.

Candidates must be driven self-starters with a desire to learn, and must have training and experience in user-centered design, preferably at the Master’s level or higher. Skill with wire framing tools and testing frameworks is highly beneficial. Experience working with specialists in other domains, especially programmers, is ideal. An interest in wildlife conservation is preferred, though deep experience is not necessary. Preferred qualifications include a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

We welcome candidates who would work either remotely (during the business hours of a USA time zone) or be based at Defenders’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Unpaid. If the candidate is based at our Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and commuting to the office, local transportation costs up to $10 per day will be reimbursed. Students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities through their schools or outside sources.

Please submit as a single PDF a cover letter (letter of interest), resume, and a list of contact information (email, phone) for up to 3 professional references. In the cover letter, be sure to address:
-         your interest in working with Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Conservation Innovation specifically;
-         how your skills fit the goals and responsibilities of the internship position;
-         how the internship will assist with your career goals;
-         the date of your deadline if you require a decision by a deadline for school credit or funding
-         whether you are available part-time or full-time (either may be possible depending on the specific internship project); and
-         whether you would work remotely or are available to work in our Washington, D.C. office.
If you apply to more than one intern position at Defenders of Wildlife, please be sure to tailor your applications to each position. Inquiries about the User-centered Design Intern position may be emailed to the hiring manager, Sasha Patsel, at Applications should be submitted through Defenders’ online portal.

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.
Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures. We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.